Sketches of a rock garden

I’ve started my garden at Coin Perdu. We are still working on the house, so I am limited to where I can garden for the moment. A rock garden close by the barn we’re living in for the moment works good. It also serves as a little lay in garden where plants can with for their permanent place in the garden. It was hard work, since it is a little grass covered hill that I had to dig out, remove the grass, lay down big bolders, fill with rocks, treat the soil, add compost and all necessary, leave it to settle and then plant some plants.  It still needs work, but for now it is filled with plants loving sun and rocky corners and it has steps that lead up to a little corner on the hill where a bench waits patiently for someone to sit and admire my handiwork…? It is adjacent to the old pigsty, that will soon become my laundry room and the bench will be a welcome repose from all the washing that needs attention on a farm!

The top sketch is of bags with compost and soil and stuff(I don’ t have my own yet!) and some plants from the pepinier(I don’t have my own  hothouse yet!). the second sketch is the rock garden, just competed this morning.

Cartoon illustrations

Invigorated by spring and salads and fruit and spring vegetables and all the great art I see everywhere, I feel myself bursting with ideas and inspiration. Apart from loving painting, I also love writing and I’m getting more and more a feel for illustration. Writing and illustration make a good combo, so; for my writing which I’ve started with a while back, I’m considering doing some illustrations for as well. I have tried my hand at one or tow before which can be seen here:

Absent

Egg in a pocket

Singin in the rain

Something that needs fixin

…shut the gate!…

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illustration done in rotring pen and watercolour on Fabriano artistico HP.

We have a friend who’s a farmer. His pride is his huge selection of animals, and especially his bulls. But he also has vineyards. And his biggest struggle is to get the farmhands to remember to close the farm gates behind them, so the cows and bulls don’t roam about in the vineyards. After stripping his temper once too often, he promptly planted a post on the gate on which, in no uncertain terms, he forcefully sergeant-majors them to keep the gates shut. The punchline on the illustration is written in my mother tongue, but it roughly comes down to: “Keep the @&*#@.. gates shut… the cows are in the vineyard!!”


Sketching faces

With everybody crawling out of their hibernation holes, sketching faces has become easy again…. in availability, I mean, not in the sketching itself.

…Spring faces…

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Pencil sketches in moleskine with watercolour dabs.

This past week we had le soleil à volonté! Meaning as much sun as you want.  I made sure I had plentiful of helpings of unlimited sunshine, literally drinking in the sunshine and blue skies, turning my face to the sun. And I could see everybody else doing the same. The winter grim is thown off the faces, mouths are turned upward in smiles, little friendly jokes are being cracked with the stranger opposite you and cars stop to give you an opening into traffic. We are all united by the appearance of the sun. If I could capture the effect of sunlight on people and sell it in a bottle, I would be a billionaire overnight!

So. Like all these other cheerful Francais, I also took to the streets, sat myself down outside a café and sketched the faces around me.

I used pencil, which is always hard for me. Maybe I’m influenced by the fact that I know pencil can be erased, but I DON’T want to erase, so I’m hyper careful not to make a mistake! In using a pen, I care less, I JUST DO IT.  I added some watercolour, because it looked too sad without colour and after all, today  is 20 March, which means it is…PRINTEMPS!(spring!)…

Question of the day: Did you hold a pen in your hand today and what did you do with it….doodle/draw/sketch/scratch your ear/ clean your toenails…?


Shadows

A recent conversation:

“…I live in the shadows. Or so it feels. A few years back I was blooming in the sun. So it felt. Now I’m living my life in the shadows. Of my computer. Emails. SMS. MSN. Facebook. Twitter. Blogs. Websites. I am now recognized through the style of my writing and not by my voice. Sadness is felt  by the stucture of my phrases and not seen in my tears. Happiness is seen in my exclamation marks and not heard in my laugh. The truth is guessed by my vocabulary and not heard in the seriousness of my voice.  I have become deletable. I am speaking less and writing more. I am hearing less and wondering more. My voice is growing softer and the shadows wider…”

Sketch in moleskine with rotring pen and watercolour.

…deep talk...

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A perfect road.

When I look back on the road I have followed, life had forced me on many occasions to make difficult choices. (Do easy choices exist?)  True to my nature of reflecting on the past, I often wonder where and what I would have been had I chosen the opposite direction. I don’t believe we make wrong decisions (given of course that we make a decision for the right reason) , only different ones: some leading us into learning curves, some leading us down the path of pure joy, some into unwanted hardships… But in spite of all my wondering where the other road would’ve taken me, I am content with where I am now. Is it perfect? I have no idea. How can we ever be sure of perfection? Something can always be worse and it can always be better. And tomorrow perfection might even be different. Art. Motherhood. Love. Sadness. Happiness… Today, my happiness of 26 years is perfect.

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I’m taking a break for the rest of the season to spend some time with my family and do deliciously illegal things which only this  season allows – eating cookies and foie gras and chocolate, champagne, lazing by the fireplace…

Sorry for being so slack in visiting and commenting, I’ll make up for it! I wish you all a wonderful Christmas with tins full of cookies!

Sketches from here and there

Some sketches done over a period of time, all in moleskine with a pen and water brush.

The first two sketches was done in Paris during the summer, while I was nervously waiting for our daughter who had her interview(first job!!) with an architect. She is now working and living in Paris.

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The next three sketches are some faces from all over… some OK, some bad and some really bad. I’m quite content with the guy with the ponytail…it looks exactly like him. Pen and wash in moleskine.

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And lastly, some people in motion, pen in moleskine. Here I’m happy about the “artist”; he was extremely busy, bending down, having his cloth fall often, painting wildly and I’m chuffed with capturing his energy.

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Splashy pineapples

Yesterday I had a crazy craving for pineapple. I bought whichever ones I could find…the sweet small Victoria pineapple from South Africa, the big fat watery one, produced in Costa Rica, coming from Miami???… and lastly the heavy, juicy one from the Ivory coast. Of course I had to paint them. My light pencil drawing was fine and I started putting in washes. Arriving at the spiky leaves, all went horribly wrong. And from there it on it was downhill all the way. Finally I threw the paintbrush out the door, flew out of my atelier, jammed a cup of coffee together, grabbed a canvas and plastered it with modeling paste and a painting knife. Halfway through the oil painting, and eventually simmered down, I turned to my watercolour and thought I might as well finish it by simply pulling out all the stops, I have nothing to lose. So here is the final messy watercolour….. the oil painting is still drying.

Watercolour on Fabriano artistico HP extra white block, 30,5×45,5cm (12″x18″)

Afterwards I even had some time to put a recipe together…and  eat it all. Interested in Pineapple carpaccio with saffron syrup and roasted pinenuts?